The Old Rugged Cross

GodTube Staff The Old Rugged Cross
"The Old Rugged Cross" is a popular hymn written in 1912 by evangelist and song-leader George Bennard and it speaks of the writer's adoration of Christ and His sacrifice at Calvary.

On a hill far away, stood an old rugged Cross

The emblem of suffering and shame

And I love that old Cross where the dearest and best

For a world of lost sinners was slain

So I'll cherish the old rugged Cross

Till my trophies, at last, I lay down

I will cling to the old rugged Cross

And exchange it some day for a crown

Oh, that old rugged Cross so despised by the world

Has a wondrous attraction for me

For the dear Lamb of God, left His Glory above

To bear it to dark Calvary

So I'll cherish the old rugged Cross

Till my trophies, at last, I lay down

I will cling to the old rugged Cross

And exchange it some day for a crown

In the old rugged Cross, stained with blood so divine

A wondrous beauty I see

For the dear Lamb of God, left His Glory above

To pardon and sanctify me

So I'll cherish the old rugged Cross

Till my trophies, at last, I lay down

I will cling to the old rugged Cross

And exchange it some day for a crown

To the old rugged Cross, I will ever be true

Its shame and reproach gladly bear

Then He'll call me some day to my home far away

Where His glory forever I'll share

So I'll cherish the old rugged Cross

Till my trophies, at last, I lay down

I will cling to the old rugged Cross

And exchange it some day for a crown

Songwriters George Bennard Published by Public Domain

The Story Behind The Old Rugged Cross

As a Methodist evangelist, George Bennard wrote the first verse of "The Old Rugged Cross" in Albion, Michigan, in the fall of 1912 as a response to ridicule that he had received at a revival meeting.  Bennard traveled with Ed E. Mieras from Chicago to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin where they held evangelistic meetings at the Friends Church from December 29, 1912, to January 12, 1913. During the meetings Rev. George Bennard finished "The Old Rugged Cross" and on the last night of the meetings, Bennard and Mieras performed it as a duet before a full house with Pearl Torstensen Berg, organist for the meeting, as accompanist.  

The hymn uses a sentimental popular song form with a verse/chorus pattern in 6,8 time and it speaks of the writer's adoration of Christ and His sacrifice at Calvary. Bennard retired to Reed City, Michigan, and the town maintains a museum dedicated to his life and ministry.  A memorial has also been created in Youngstown at Lake Park Cemetery.  A plaque commemorating the first performance of the song stands in front of the Friend's Church in Sturgeon Bay, WI.

"The Old Rugged Cross" has been a country gospel favorite ever since it became the title song of Ernest Tubb's 1952 gospel album; it has been performed by some of the twentieth century's most important recording artists.


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